Posts Tagged ‘Lou Reed’

When John Cale left the influential iconic The Velvet Underground it was mostly because of his tense relationship with the late great legend Lou Reed. But in 1990 they both teamed up again to honour their inspirator Andy Warhol, with the masterly album ‘Songs For Drella‘, released over 30 years ago, on 11th April 1990.
Warhol had died three years before, in 1987. Drella was his nickname, a contraction of Dracula and Cinderella.

Lou Reed & John Cale forgot about their intolerable differences that drove The Velvet Underground apart back in 1968. Well they did as long as it toke to create this exceeding album in honor of versatile artist Andy Warhol who died in 1987. The fact that Reed & Cale became musical friends again, at least temporarily, proves that Warhol must have had an enormous impact on the giant duo when they picked up an instrument for the first time.

Even more than we knew. In return the pair created this beauty of an album. The warm and charismatic voices of both Reed and Cale are upfront all the time. They tell stories about their relationship with Warhol, they sing to celebrate their inspirer, they play intimate in respect for an eccentric and stirring mind. Even after his death Warhol pushed the legendary duo to produce an especial work of art.

This memorable record shows, once again, how brilliant these two splendiferous artists could be together. Thanks to their huge songwriting skills and imposing voices they made out of each of the 15 songs a compelling experience. A masterpiece indeed!.

Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “Both now nearing fifty, Reed and Cale are the survivors Warhol wasn’t fated to become. In popular music, only bluesmen and country greats have managed the maturity these two display. Fashioning a litany out of Warhol’s off-kilter pantheon Edie Sedgwick, Billy Name and Valerie Solanis (whose attempted murder of Warhol prefigured the shooting of John Lennon)  “Drella” memorializes an era the way narrative folk music generally has done. Reed and Cale add rare intelligence to their nostalgia, but it’s on a more soulful level that Drella finally hits. The subtle values of modesty, hesitance and loving observation dignify this sweet and knowing tribute to these men’s mentor, prod — and friend.”

Top Tracks: “Nobody But You / Open House / Style It Takes / Small Town”

Release date: April 11th, 1990,

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Lou Reed - Ecstasy

“Ecstasy” is the eighteenth solo studio album by American musician Lou Reed, released in 2000. It is a concept album about Reed’s personal experiences with marriage and relationships and is his final rock album

Ecstasy is even more impressive. Dominated emotionally by dark songs about extreme sex and relationships gone sour, it will once again be linked to Anderson, even though many of its details diverge radically from what everyone knows about the couple’s life together — that they have no children, for instance. Resist the impulse to turn music into gossip and hear Ecstasy for what it is  a complex, musically gorgeous synthesis of the obsessions that powered Reed’s failed 1973 Berlin and his great marriage albums of the early Eighties, especially The Blue Mask.

Since happy love is much rarer in good art than it is in good lives, Twilight remains moderately miraculous — far from innocent of struggle and doubt, it’s nevertheless the most openhearted, sweet-tempered record Reed has ever put out there. It was only a moment, though, and on Ecstasy he says hello to his old demons. Masking profound rage with bitchy back talk, Reed’s romantic egotism has always doomed his personal and artistic commitments — he needs new sensations. But perhaps because he’s put in two decades as an attempted mensch, first with ex-wife Sylvia Morales and then with Anderson, his demons now sometimes seem more like daemons, geniuses, as on the passionately impenetrable title song, which is about a soul-shaking sexual adventure by or with a mythified someone who could be rough trade or a prominent New York performance artist. On the amazing “Mad,” Lou’s tirade after he’s caught cheating — “You said you’re out of town for the night/And I believed in you/I believed you” lays open the asshole he knows himself to be without apologizing for his base-line arrogance. And the impossible marriages of “Tatters” and “Baton Rouge,” both carefully fictionalized, are sketched with the kind of intimate incidental detail only appreciated by someone who has learned from experience how specific relationships are.

Add several paeans to the perverse — among them a hopeless declaration of sexual indenture and a moaned and shouted eighteen-minute noisefest, and three off-message changes of pace that include a slave’s freedom rant and an upliftingly spiritual closer — and the complexity of Reed’s conception should be clear. Words, however, are truly only half of it. Understandably, Reed’s old fascination with sadomasochistic transcendence puts off those who don’t swing that way at least a little. But the music on this record, its gorgeous part, could change that.

Together with his longtime guitarist Mike Rathke and the ever-more-fluid bassist Fernando Saunders, Reed has gradually adjusted his trademark minimalism toward a body-friendly responsiveness. The guitar hooks on “Mad” and “Ecstasy,” far less trebly and staccato than the Velvet Underground norm, render those demented statements rather beautiful — touching and vulnerable alongside hateful and proud. And while the timbre of Reed’s Sprechgesang will never again be as supple as in his moments of youthful lyricism, like “Pale Blue Eyes,” his sere thoughtfulness here is at least as tender — his perspective seems like mature understanding rather than neurotic distance. If rock is to be an art form — and, come on, it’s earned the option — best it should honor life’s physical reality as unmistakably as this music does. Let his fellow big shots respect him. Us guys’ll just give him R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Heavyweight Double LP reissue of Lou Reed’ s 18th and final (non-collaborative) solo rock album “Ecstasy”, Originally released in 2000.

Never let it be said that Lou Reed has lost the ability to surprise his audience; who would have thought that at the age of 58, on his first album of the new millennium, Reed would offer us an 18-minute guitar distortion workout with lyrics abut kinky sex, dangerous drugs, and (here’s the surprise) imagining what it would be like to be a possum? For the most part, Ecstasy finds Reed obsessed with love and sex, though (as you might expect) his take on romance is hardly rosy (“Paranoia Key of E,” “Mad,” and “Tatters” all document a relationship at the point of collapse, while “Baton Rouge” is an eccentric but moving elegy for a love that didn’t last) and Eros is usually messy (“White Prism”), obsessive (“Ecstasy”), or unhealthy and perverse (“Rock Minuet”). Reed genuinely seems to be stretching towards new lyrical and musical ground here, but while some of his experiments work, several pointedly do not, with the epic “Like a Possum” only the album’s most spectacular miscalculation. Still, Reed and producer Hal Wilner take some chances with the arrangements that pay off, particularly the subtle horn charts that dot several songs, and Reed‘s superb rhythm section (Fernando Saunders on bass and Tony “Thunder” Smith on drums) gives these songs a rock-solid foundation for the leader’s guitar workouts. As Reed and his band hit fifth gear on the album’s rousing closer, “Big Sky,” he once again proves that even his uneven works include a few songs you’ll certainly want to have in your collection — as long as they’re not about possums.

Track 4 from his eighteenth solo album “Ecstasy” released in 2000 copyright Sire Records. This album was his last solo release before his death in 2013. It was well received by critics as another strong album, some say his “masterpiece.” Written by Lou Reed and produced by Lou Reed & Hal Willner. RIP Lou & Don Alias. Featuring: Lou Reed – Lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, percussion on “White Prism” Mike Rathke – Lead & rhythm guitars Fernando Saunders – Bass & background vocals Tony “Thunder” smith – Drums, percussion & background vocals Special Guests: Don Alias – Percussion on “Ecstasy” Laurie Anderson – Electric Violin on “White Prism”, “Rouge” & Rock Minuet” Steven Bernstein – Trumpet & horn arrangements Doug Wieselman – Baritone & tenor saxes Paul Shapiro – Tenor sax Jane Scarpantoni – Cello

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When the Velvet Underground’s second album descended on the world in January, 1968, nobody was ready for it. As the story goes, it was a relentless, screeching, thudding, scoffing assault on the pop sensibilities of its time. For its 45th anniversary it was reissued in expanded, remastered form, and listening to White Light/White Heat now. The Velvet Underground and Nico, the year before, had had Andy Warhol’s imprimatur to promise that its passages of bleeding-raw chaos were art; it had also had the complicated but unmistakable beauty of the songs Nico sang as a lifeline for the tiny mainstream audience that caught on to it at the time. White Light/White Heat didn’t have that either.

By the time they released it, the Velvets were downplaying the art-world connection (despite the very arty slash in the album’s title, and the fact that its black-on-black sleeve was designed by the Factory’s Billy Name). Nico was now out of the band, although bassist John Cale would continue to work with her for years. And the album was a relentless, screeching, thudding, scoffing assault on the pop sensibilities of its time: six songs with lyrics designed to horrify the bourgeoisie (not that they’d have listened to the Velvet Underground in the first place), ending with a one-take, two-chord, 17-minute speed freakout. It clung to the bottom of the album chart for two weeks, disappeared, and went on to become the glorious, tainted fountain from which all scuzz flows.

That’s the White Light/White Heat of legend, anyway, keeping time was never their strong point—it’s been reissued in expanded, remastered form, as if what this pinnacle of sloppy noise needed was remastering. As always, the title track, which seems like it should start cold with Cale and Sterling Morrison’s backing vocals, sounds like it’s had a little trimmed off the top to remove an extraneous sound—although, of course, extraneous sounds are kind of the whole point of this album. When I first bought it in 1973, when I first became a Lou Reed fan, but over the years I have become to love it almost as much as “VU and NIco”. It is certainly harder to get into on first listenings, at least for someone who likes 3-minute songs and nice melodies – “Here She Comes Now” is about the only song on the original album you could call “pretty”. But it is an absolute classic. Side 2 of the original album has become my favourite side, with “I Heard Her Call my Name” an amazing bit of guitar playing, must have been one of the wildest songs ever recorded at that time, and “Sister Ray” at 17 minutes long, wasn’t exactly designed for maximum radio airplay.

Lou Reed’s song writing is often a lot more conventional than it’s reputed to be. Strip away the noise and flash and references to illicit drugs and sex, and “White Light/White Heat”, “Here She Comes Now”, and “I Heard Her Call My Name” are all the sort of simple rock’n’roll that Reed had been cranking out at Pickwick Records a couple of years earlier. (So is “Guess I’m Falling In Love”, recorded in scorching instrumental form at the White Light sessions.

If you get the 45th anniversary 2-CD version you are getting the best value for money, with various extra tracks, not all of them essential, but “Stephanie Says” is an absolutely beautiful song, and there is a wonderful, chugging, early version of “Beginning to see the Light”, and of course you get the excellent “Live at the Gymnasium” as well.

On the Anniversary set, the live disc appended to this edition is a reminder that the Velvet Underground were radical in a totally acceptable way for their time—that, professionally speaking, they were a party band with an audience of hippies, who appeared on bills with the likes of Sly & the Family Stone, Canned Heat, Iron Butterfly, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Chicago Transit Authority the year White Light/White Heat came out. The performance, apparently from John Cale’s collection, was recorded at the Gymnasium in New York in April, 1967 (two of its songs previously appeared on the 1995 Peel Slowly and See box set). It presents the Velvets as a full-on boogie band, whose set is bookended by the instrumental grooves “Booker T.” and “The Gift”—turns out they’re slightly different songs, contrary to what VU fans have assumed for the past few decades. The rest of the gig includes what might or might not have been the first public performance of “Sister Ray” (it was still a very new song, at any rate), and one legit addition to the canon: “I’m Not a Young Man Anymore”, a chugging electric blues that wouldn’t have been out of place in Creedence Clearwater Revival’s early repertoire.

What possessed Cale to start playing an out-of-time, two-note bass part louder than anything else at the end of “White Light/White Heat”, and how could he have guessed that that was a great idea? Was the famous split-second pause before Reed’s splatter bomb solo on “I Heard Her Call My Name” intentional? What the fuck was up with Reed filling in words—”SWEETLY!”—in the middle of Cale’s vocal on “Lady Godiva’s Operation”, and why is it still hilarious? Speaking of that song, might lyrics about a delicate hypersexual creature interacting with “another curly-headed boy,” directly followed by a medical horror-show, have anything to do with a curly-headed songwriter who was given electroconvulsive therapy to “cure” his bisexuality as a teenager? Why is “Sister Ray” way, way more potent than any other extended jam on a simple riff by any other American band of the 60s?

It’s surprising to hear anything besides the universe catching its breath after “Sister Ray” ends, but the first disc of this reissue is filled out with other previously released evidence of John Cale’s final months in the Velvet Underground: the instrumental “Guess I’m Falling In Love”, both versions of the electric-viola showcase “Hey Mr. Rain”, and the band’s thoroughly charming stab at making a commercially viable single, “Temptation Inside Your Heart”/”Stephanie Says”. There’s also a previously unheard alternate take of “I Heard Her Call My Name” (not quite as good as the official one, and mostly interesting to hear which of Reed’s apparent ad-libs weren’t), and one fascinating curio: an early version of “Beginning to See the Light”, recorded at the “Temptation Inside Your Heart” session. By the time the song appeared on The Velvet Underground in 1969, it had become lither and wittier, and Reed had sharpened a few of its lyrics; this broad-shouldered, clomping version is distinctly not there yet, but everything the Velvets released on their official albums is so canonical that it’s strange and heartening to realize that their songs didn’t just spring into existence already perfect.

Watch Lou Reed Perform "Walk on the Wild Side" & More in 1986

Lou Reed’s solo work has been argued about for decades. Is 1973’s Berlin the stuff of genius or a paranoid lunatic? Is 1975’s Metal Machine Music groundbreaking or truly unlistenable? That’s up to the listener to decide, but whatever you think about Lou Reed’s solo material, you have to applaud his creative ambition.

If you can’t wrap your head around some of Reed’s stranger material, there are songs from 1972’s Transformer that everybody can get behind. The David Bowie-produced Transformer featured some of the greatest songs of Reed’s career like “Walk on the Wild Side,” “Satellite of Love” and “Vicious.”

This day in 1986, Lou Reed performed at the Ritz in New York City to promote his 14th album Mistrial with a four-piece backing band—Woody Smallwood (keyboards), Rick Bell (saxophone), Fernando Saunders (bass) and J.T. Lewis (drums). Reed performed selections from Transformer, Mistrial and even Velvet Undeground’s Loaded.

Setlist: 0:00:00 – Real Good Time Together 0:06:02 – Sweet Jane 0:11:29 – Turn To Me 0:17:09 – New Sensations 0:24:51 – Satellite Of Love 0:30:19 – Satellite Of Love cont’d 0:32:09 – Underneath The Bottle 0:35:38 – No Money Down 0:39:34 – Mistrial 0:44:17 – The Last Shot 0:52:26 – Walk On The Wild Side 0:59:47 – Street Hassle 1:04:33 – Tell It To Your Heart 1:14:41 – I Remember You 1:19:32 – I Love You Suzanne 1:23:29 – The Original Wrapper 1:30:59 – Doin’ The Things We Want To 1:39:22 – Video Violence 1:47:57 – Legendary Love 1:51:27 – Vicious 1:54:54 – Down At The Arcade 1:59:34 – Rock & Roll

Sleeve for Lou Reed's Transformer

Commercial success and critical acclaim together or apart are not really the true measure of an artist’s work. History and public acceptance can ‘transform’ the perspective and create a re-evaluation, or revisionist history towards how the art is viewed. No other work quite typifies this more than Lou Reed with his second solo effort “Transformer”.

Transformer is an incarnation of Reed at his most tuneful and accessible, just right for an almost-teenager. Just wrong, you might say. If the swooping basslines and whooping choruses drew me in, the lyrics kept me riveted and puzzling. “Shaved her legs and then he was a she” I could work out. But what was the “Up-all-oh”? “Angel dust”? “Giving head”? What about “hustler”? Oh, how Google would have helped me then

With the Velvet Underground, Reed became a beacon to the outsider experience and while album sales were low, critics and musicians had found a kind of anti-hero on whom to heap praise. Once the Velvets had broken up, Reed continued his stories and of counter-culture misfits but to a more commercialized effect on Transformer. Produced by David Bowie and his guitarist Mick Ronson, Transformer would be heavily influenced by Bowie’s then ‘glam’ movement and blur the same androgynous lines can be heard singing backing vocals (his falsetto seems obvious on Satellite of Love, . However, Reed would use his own brand of wry observation and deadpan delivery to create characters that lived with and amongst his crowd as opposed to embodying the characters space as Bowie did with Ziggy and Aladdin Sane.

As with its predecessor Lou Reed, Transformer contains songs Reed composed while still in the Velvet Underground (here, four out of ten). “Andy’s Chest” was first recorded by the band in 1969 and “Satellite of Love” demoed in 1970; these versions were released on VU and Peel Slowly and See, respectively. For Transformer, the original up-tempo pace of these songs was slowed down.

“New York Telephone Conversation” and “Goodnight Ladies” are known to have been played live during the band’s summer 1970 residency at Max’s Kansas City; the latter takes its title refrain from the last line of the second section (“A Game of Chess”) of T. S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land: “Good night, ladies, good night, sweet ladies, good night, good night.”, which is itself a quote from Ophelia in Hamlet.

As in Reed’s Velvet Underground days, the connection to artist Andy Warhol remained strong. According to Reed, Warhol told him he should write a song about someone vicious. When Reed asked what he meant by vicious, Warhol replied, “Oh, you know, like I hit you with a flower”,resulting in the song “Vicious”.

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Oddly, it was “Walk On The Wild Side” a song that spoke of transsexuality, oral sex and drug use that propelled the album to heights neither seen by the Velvet Underground or Reed himself in previous efforts. It wouldn’t be until the 1990’s that “Perfect Day” would become an underground hit. The supposed ode to his drug habit, Perfect Day, only works because, no matter who the song is dedicated to, it is a beautiful ballad. Then there is the epic, neon-drenched goodbye to his association with Andy Warhol and his factory acolytes,

On its release in 1972, Transformer was given mixed reviews by critics who claimed it was overly “art-y” and overly sexual. History of course has shed new light and Transformer has made just about every magazines ‘Best All-Time’ list. There was a BBC documentary devoted entirely to Walk on the Wild Side. My questions were answered. There was Holly, who did indeed “come from Miami FLA”. It turned out “Up-all-oh” was the Apollo theatre in Harlem, and “Sugar Plum fairy” a drug dealer. Though Candy and Jackie had departed this world, Joe Dallesandro was there, wistfully contemplating wasted opportunities. And then there was Lou – decked out in leather jacket and leathery skin – complaining about people using Walk on the Wild Side without permission.

Despite, or maybe due to its recognition, finding vinyl editions of Transformer is pretty easy, but figuring out what works best for you might get a little more difficult. You can find used copies pretty much anywhere. I’m sure a lot of people who bought Transformer to get similar material to “Walk On The Wild Side” only to find that it wasn’t like that. As for new, eight official vinyl editions have come out since 2004 with four in just the last three years. On RSD 2012 a straight re-issue was put out in record stores, and is still the most common new copy you will find. In 2013 – 2014 unofficial green and blue versions were released in the UK. Finally, a few weeks ago Newbury Comics put out a Limited Edition half black and half gold version. There were 1200 copies printed and each was gold stamp numbered.

Due to the sheer amount of what is available, you can get most copies of Transformer for less than $30.00 (including the unofficial UK copies). Only the Newbury edition is commanding high prices on the resale market, and that’s pretty damn silly, because you can still get a copy from Newbury for less than $30.00. The split colour looks awesome and indeed sounds great.

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You can get it here. Anyway, with his recent induction into the “Rock Hall of fame” you can expect some renewed interest and copies of Transformer may begin to disappear. You might want to give that some thought this time if you’ve been sitting on the fence.

Last November, on the 45th anniversary of Lou Reed’s legendary Transformer album, photographer Mick Rock joined Rolling Stone editor David Fricke in a conversation for readers at the New York Public Library. Marking the anniversary, Mick kindly signed 45 bookplates specially for readers around the globe. Accordingly, 45 Collector copies are now available, each additionally including:

  • The new 24-page booklet with an essay by Mick Rock and 50 previously unpublished photographs
  • The looseleaf ‘Rock and Roll Heart’ facsimile handwritten lyric sheet
  • The commemorative New York Public Library bookplate signed by Mick Rock on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of Transformer
  • Transformer book bag and publishing prospectus

Transformer

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In the run-up to the release of ‘Do Angels Need Haircuts? Early Poems by Lou Reed’, we explore the music icon’s gift for penning verse . In August 1970, when he was 28 years old, Lou Reed quit The Velvet Underground and moved back into his parents’ home in Long Island, where he stayed for the better part of a year in seclusion to write poetry. He vowed never to play rock and roll again and focussed on writing verse which eventually found its way into the pages of Rolling Stone, in addition to smaller poetry zines like The Harvard Advocate, The World, Fusion, The Unmuzzled Ox, and Cold Spring Journal.

“I’m a poet,” Reed publicly declared on March 10th, 1971, as he took to the stage of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, New York. Standing before the likes Allen Ginsberg and Ted Berrigan, who smiled in support, Reed recited a selection of new poems along with the lyrics by The Velvet Underground.

Six months later, Reed began recording Transformer, his debut solo album produced by David Bowie and arranged by Mick Ronson. But his time away from the limelight was not in vain for it had solidified Reed’s gift for penning lyrical verse that lived on the page – and sometime later in song.

In 1974, Reed compiled All the Pretty People, a book of poetry that was never published. It is only now that his verse has been unearthed, collected, and released in Do Angels Need Haircuts? Early Poems by Lou Reed (Anthology Editions, May 1). The book includes 7” record of the 1971 live reading along with a foreword by Anne Waldman, an afterword by Laurie Anderson, archival notes by Don Fleming, and photographs by Mick Rock.

Here, Fleming provides a five-point guide to the poetry of this music icon.

The rock star as recluse

“Although this mysterious period between The Velvet Underground and his first solo album isn’t as documented as other periods, we know that Lou Reed moved home to regroup. He needed some time off to gather himself and decide where he was going. I don’t think at the time anyone saw what The Velvet Underground was as a huge success. I don’t think Lou was convinced that was going to be his career (laughs). I think he had always fought the idea that he should be a writer and not a rock and roll singer. His lyrics for The Velvet Underground were above and beyond what most people were writing and I think it was drowned out a bit by the chaos of the music. He was serious about poetry and wanted to make a go of it.”

Life as a source for verse

“Spirited Leaves of Autumn directly references his time in college and Delmore Schwartz, his professor and mentor at Syracuse University. It’s an amazing narrative story done in the way that only Lou can create: he invokes Finnegan’s Wake, James Joyce, and people like Sweet Michael, who committed suicide by leaping in front of a train. The poem was a way of putting together his life experience. When you hear Lou reciting the poem, it comes alive in a whole different way.”

The quiet recital

“What’s notable about the performance is that it was a little awkward for him. Lou starts off the reading by having people yelling to be louder because there was no microphone; he was just at a podium. It was his first time and you could tell that he was a bit tentative. He was much more comfortable in the character he is on stage than he was in revealing himself in this way. A lot of the audience wasn’t there to see him succeed as a poet; they were there to see what would happen. People were not very vocal or encouraging. The reaction of the crowd was on the quiet side, with polite, occasional applause.”

The Murder Mysteries explained

Lou read Velvet Underground lyrics including The Murder Mysteries. As a song it was hard to listen to because two people were talking at once in two different speakers. At the reading, he explained that one side is a manifesto about everything that bothered him and then, on the other side he declared himself the king and meted out his punishment. He saw the song as a concrete poem where you would have a poem where the lyrics were printed over each other. It was always part of his creative nature to approach his lyric writing as poetry.”

Where did All the Pretty People go?

Lou put together a manuscript with 33 poems laid out in four chapters. Most of it is typewritten and some of it is handwritten with scratched out with notes here and there. We have the letter he sent to the publisher and the letter that came back to him that said, ‘At this time we are not interested in doing this.’ We don’t see any indication that he went anywhere else with it. I find it interesting that he didn’t publish it, even later on when he could have easily put it out.”

Poems from All the Pretty People featured in Do Angels Need Haircuts? include LipstickForce ItWhiskeyBad TripDo Angels Need Haircuts?Since Half the World is H2OThe Murder Mystery, and a slight variation on He Thought of Love in the Lazy Darkness.

Ezra Furman at Bowery Ballroom

Ezra Furman, currently on tour behind his latest release Transangelic Exodus, stopped by NYC’s Brooklyn Steel . Playing in front of a beautifully-designed set backdrop, Ezra played many cuts from the new record, such as the driving “Suck the Blood from My Wound” and anthemic single “Love You So Bad.” Ezra also played some older favorites like “My Zero,” and covered Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love.”

Furman, who has released solo albums as well as albums with his bands Ezra Furman and the Harpoons and Ezra Furman and the Boy-Friends, identifies as gender fluid. A musician himself, he seems the ideal writer for an exploration into the many iterations of Lou Reed’s persona.

Ezra Furman has also penned the most recent installment in the 33 1/3 book series, which focuses on Lou Reed‘s classic album “Transformer”. Here’s the book’s official synopsis:

Transformer, Lou Reed’s most enduringly popular album, is described with varying labels: it’s often called a glam rock album, a proto-punk album, a commercial breakthrough for Lou Reed, and an album about being gay. And yet, it doesn’t neatly fit into any of these descriptors. Buried underneath the radio-friendly exterior lie coded confessions of the subversive, wounded intelligence that gives this album its staying power as a work of art. Here Lou Reed managed to make a fun, accessible rock’n’roll record that is also a troubled meditation on the ambiguities-sexual, musical and otherwise-that defined his public persona and helped make him one of the most fascinating and influential figures in rock history. Through close listening and personal reflections, songwriter Ezra Furman explores Reed’s and Transformer‘s unstable identities, and the secrets the songs challenge us to uncover.

Ezra Furman will be in Austin next week for SXSW, Ezra is also part of Willie Nelson’s “Luck Reunion” fest at his ranch during SXSW.

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Rhino isn’t holding back this Record Store Day, planning more than 30 special vinyl releases for Saturday, April 21st, to be sold at all participating retailers. Interestingly, several releases are companion pieces to recent general reissues, offering bonus content from different re-releases and box sets as standalone vinyl. Several singles and oddities are in the mix, from a 12″ of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” to a rare “short version” of Prince’s 1999, featuring only seven tracks from the album on one LP. Picture discs from Yes, Whitesnake, and Cheech & Chong are part of the line-up, and outtakes will be used to create alternate versions of Van Morrison’s Moondance and Fleetwood Mac’s Tango In The Night.

Most interesting for collectors are not one but two reproductions of rare Madonna vinyl releases outside the U.S., the vinyl debut of a promo collection by British hip-hop artist The Streets, unreleased mid-’80s masters from Miles Davis and a pair of vinyl sets covering new and old remixes by The Cure.

Among these titles, announced on Tuesday, now stand alongside previously announced RSD exclusives for Led Zeppelin (their first) and David Bowie. More RSD info is at the organization’s official site, while breakdowns of all Rhino’s new titles are below.

Air, Sexy Boy (12″ Picture Disc) (Parlophone)
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the French synth duo’s debut, Moon Safari, with this shaped picture disc of the band’s first single. It features art from the original 12″ sleeve. (6000 copies)

Cheech & ChongUp In Smoke (40th Anniversary Picture Disc) (Rhino)
This marijuana leaf-shaped disc features the title track to the comedy duo’s first film (the soundtrack of which is being reissued by Rhino the same week) plus an unreleased version with an extra Spanish verse from Cheech Marin as well as a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker! (4500 copies)

John Coltrane, My Favorite Things, Part I & II (Atlantic)
This U.S.-only single reissue was first included in a Coltrane mono box set. (1000 copies)

The Cure, Mixed Up and Torn Down: Mixed Up Extras 2018 (Elektra)
Long desired by fans of The Cure, the group’s 1990 remix album will be released as a 2LP picture disc set alongside another double picture disc featuring 16 new remixes of Cure tracks by frontman Robert Smith. The band is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, so hopefully this is the first in a wave of commemorative titles! (7750 copies each)

Miles Davis, Rubberband EP (Warner Bros.)
This four-track 12″ disc features the title song to an unreleased 1985 album, intended to be Miles’ first for Warner Bros. Records after a lengthy tenure on Columbia. It features a new remix featuring Ledisi, a completed version of the track finished by Randy Hall and Zane Giles, and cover art painted by Davis. (6000 copies)

The Doors, Live At The Matrix Part 2: Let’s Feed Ice Cream To The Rats, San Francisco, CA – March 7 & 10, 1967 (Elektra)
This 180-gram, individually numbered sequel to last year’s RSD release features a set from the band at San Francisco’s The Matrix, which was last heard on a 50th anniversary edition of The Doors’ self-titled debut. (13,000 copies)

Fleetwood Mac, The Alternate Tango In The Night (Warner Bros.)
As is becoming tradition for Record Store Day, this album brings together demos and outtakes from last year’s box set version of Fleetwood Mac’s hit 1987 album. (8500 copies)

The Grateful Dead, Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA 2/27/69 (Grateful Dead/Rhino)
A 4LP box set edition (with fourth side etching) of a beloved Dead show, which has been out of print since its release in The Complete Fillmore West 1969 CD box set in 2005. (9000 copies)

Hawkwind, Dark Matter: The Alternative Liberty/U.A. Years 1970-1974 (Parlophone)
A 2LP collection in a gatefold jacket featuring rare tracks from the 2011 compilation Parallel Universe. (5000 copies)

Jethro Tull, Moths (Parlophone)
This six-track 10″ EP is tied to the 40th anniversary of Heavy Horses, recently reissued by Rhino. (6500 copies)

Madonna, The First Album and You Can Dance (Sire)
Two exciting Madonna titles are due for Record Store Day: first, a picture disc version of Madonna’s 1983 debut, reissued in 1985 after the success of Like a Virgin. This set replicates the original Japanese packaging, down to the sticker. Then there’s a red vinyl reissue of her 1987 remix album, featuring the poster and obi from the European vinyl release. (14,000 copies and 12,000 copies)

Van Morrison, The Alternative Moondance (Warner Bros.)
Constructed from alternates and outtakes from the deluxe edition of Van’s 1970 album, this LP features unreleased mixes of “And It Stoned Me” and “Crazy Love.” (10,000 copies)

The Notorious B.I.G., Juicy 12″ (Bad Boy)
A clear/black marble swirl vinyl reissue of Biggie’s defining single. (9000 copies)

Prince, 1999 (Warner Bros.)
A quirky reissue of an ex-U.S. single-LP, seven-track cutdown of Prince’s breakthrough 1982 double album, with a different cover, even. (13,000 copies)

Ramones, Sundragon Sessions (Sire)
These early mixes of tracks from Leave Home were first heard in the 40th anniversary box set of the album and appear on vinyl for the first time. (10,000 copies)

Lou Reed, Animal Serenade (Sire)
A 3LP edition of Lou’s 2003 live album, its first appearance on vinyl. (7500 copies)

The Stooges, The Stooges (Detroit Edition) (Elektra)
This 2LP set was first made available only at Third Man Record shops (it was compiled by the label’s own Ben Blackwell), but now this collection, featuring the band’s 1969 debut album and handpicked rarities from Rhino’s 2010 deluxe edition, is available at all indie stores. (8000 copies)

Various Artists, Twin Peaks: Music From The Limited Event Series and Twin Peaks: Limited Event Series Soundtrack (Rhino)
These two picture discs feature soundtrack and score, respectively, from the acclaimed 2017 revival of David Lynch’s television series, including Roadhouse band performances and original compositions by Angelo Badadamenti. (11,000 copies and 10,000 copies)

Whitesnake, 1987 (30th Anniversary Edition) (Parlophone)
A picture disc version of the rock group’s recently reissued hit LP, featuring “Here I Go Again.” (6500 copies)

Wilco, Live At The Troubadour 11/12/96 (Reprise)
The premiere 2LP edition of a live set included in the deluxe edition of the alt-country act’s Being There, reissued last year. (8500 copies)

Yes (Atlantic)
The legendary prog-rock’s ninth album, released in 1978, gets a picture disc release. (5400 copies)

Lou Reed - Street Hassle front cover.jpg

Street Hassle is the eighth solo album by rock icon Lou Reed, originally released on Arista Records. The album is notable as the first commercially released  pop album to employ binaural recording technology.

Arguably, Street Hassle – the apogee of Reed’s adventures in the New York junkie underworld, made up of three “movements” , The first part is titled “Waltzing Matilda” but has nothing to do with the Australian song of the same name; we’re guessing the title stuck with him after Australian tours in both ’74 and ’77. Street Hassle and Slipaway. But each movement bleeds into and informs the other, adding up to a stark meditation on the fragility of human life. Besides, if the track ended after the second movement, with an overdose victim’s corpse dumped unceremoniously in the street, it would simply be too harrowing; instead, a ruminative coda – with guest vocals from Bruce Springsteen – provides a sliver of solace. Ultimately, though, the message is heart-wrenchingly bleak, with Bruce adapting the words of Born To Run to fit Lou’s more pessimistic worldview: “Tramps like us, we were born to pay.” this amazing rock opera written in 1978 by the best living rock songwriter, the NYC man Lou Reed. The song is divided into three parts (Walzing Matilda, Street Hassle, Slip Away), which have all the same music structure that meets first the orchestra, then acoustic guitars and rock bass guitars, and at the end the prayer of a penitent man, made of tears..

This was Lou’s eighth solo album, and one of many a fan’s favourites, “Street Hassle” is most often noted for its epic three-part title track.  As was common on ‘70s Lou Reed solo albums, Street Hassle contained a song originally written during his days in the Velvet Underground—in this case, “Real Good Time Together” (which more recently Patti Smith had been using as a set opener) – and the album the first pop album to employ binaural recording technology aka Dummy Head Recording, a recording technique that sounds so odd we suggest you look it up.

Street Hassle combines live concert tapes and studio recordings. All of the songs on Street Hassle were written by Lou Reed, The album was met with mostly positive reviews, Its Raw, wounded, and unapologetically difficult, Street Hassle isn’t the masterpiece Reed was shooting for, but it’s still among the most powerful and compelling albums he released during the 1970s, and too personal and affecting to ignore.

This 3 x CD Collection brings together a set of rare recordings by the Velvets, 50 plus years (for most) after they were first made and which will complete collections worldwide for the millions of fans still flying the flag for this strange collective. Everything about The Velvet Underground was astonishing. Take a female drummer with one beat (Mo Tucker), a classically trained Welshman (John Cale), a blonde German beauty who couldn’t sing (Nico), and two buddies from Syracuse University (Sterling Morrison and Lou Reed) who all came together as a band formed to promote Lou’s song ‘The Ostrich’.

Add another blonde who painted soup cans, a name derived from a novel about sado-masochism and Verve as a major label, and you arrive at the Velvet Underground, a band who rewrote the rules for music as we know it.

CD ONE features rehearsals for the band s first album, bizarrely broadcast across radio waves at the time, and which give a sense of quite how that seismic album came to be. The first disc also includes three rare live cuts recorded in NYC the same year.

CD TWO includes the group s show at La Cave in Cleveland, Ohio on 2nd October 1968, by which time John Cale had been fired from the group and had just been replaced by Doug Yule for this show.

CD THREE contains the concert given by Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris on 19th January 1972, a show as legendary as the band whose name remains the starting point for all modern music.